How to Select the Right Truck Driving Classes near Anthem Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Anthem AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Anthem residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Anthem AZ, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Anthem AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Anthem AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Anthem AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Anthem AZ schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Anthem AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Anthem AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Anthem AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Anthem AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Anthem AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
How To Become Truck Driver Anthem Arizona
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Become Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Classes. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Anthem AZ.
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Anthem is a census-designated place located in Maricopa County, Arizona, within the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 Census, Anthem's population was 21,700. The 2014 estimate is around 30,000 people.
Anthem was developed by Del Webb in 1999 as a master-planned community in the foothills approximately 34 miles north of downtown Phoenix. Anthem has been described as one of the best places to raise a family by Parenting magazine and one of the best family friendly neighborhoods in the Phoenix area by Phoenix Magazine.
On July 31, 2012, a storm dropped 5.01 inches of rain on Anthem in the span of 90 minutes, causing widespread flooding that damaged homes and required the rescue of nine people. A subsequent investigation into the flood concluded that the storm was a "one-in-1,000 year rain catastrophe."
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